Retail Trends to Watch For in 2021

What retail trends will shape visual engagement solutions and brand experiences in 2021? Read More From The Look Company's Blog.

2020 was a year like no other. With the shift to eCommerce retail stores had to adapt quickly to continue to serve their customers both online and offline. Going into 2021, the pandemic will continue to shape brand experiences and retail trends. Below are our top 3 trends to watch for this year.

Retail Trend 1: A Better Retail Experience

Wayfinding: Helping customers find what they’re looking for quickly.

Why? Customers want to get in, find what they are looking for quickly and efficiently, to reduce the amount of time spent in the store. Primary identification and directional signage helps to direct customers to where they need to go to get their products or services fast. Clear navigation routes, backlit identification signs or freestanding lightboxes that can be rearranged easily are all important fixtures to your store layout.

Integrated Technology: Helping customers easily retrieve information they gathered online to make their purchasing decisions quickly.

Why? Customers do not want to touch screens or surfaces for help. They may not want to speak to an associate for directions or information. Technology that has been integrated or working along with signage could bridge the gap between eCommerce and in-store merchandising, providing a platform for receiving in-store promotions or product information. Digital screens built into modular partition systems could showcase customer reviews and testimonials of products through videos.

Self-Checkouts: Reducing the amount of time spent in a queue to make a purchase.

Why? Giving customers the flexibility of paying for their items without having to wait in lines or have another person touching their merchandise allows them to purchase goods in a way they’re comfortable with. When providing a choice of when and how a purchase is made can add more satisfaction with the overall retail experience. Directions to and clear messaging on how to use self-checkout areas are a great way to promote and accommodate ease of use.

Walmart self checkout visual engagement solution

Point-of-sale Promotions: Stocking the high-traffic area at checkouts with wishlist items, sales promotions or brand spotlights rather than smaller grab-and-go merchandise.

Why? Smaller point-of-sale items are typically located at the checkout counter for last minute purchases. The checkout area is one of the highest traffic areas, large ticket items or strategically placed promotions available in-store only, could be located there instead. As casual browsing has become a novelty, it’s time to rethink impulse buying. Adding key visual engagement elements, promotions or advertisements could drive more sales for large ticket items at checkout.

Retail Trend 2 - Bringing the Inside, Out

Your store is not just the inside, but the outside too. Considering the entire customer journey, from lining up outside to enter when there are capacity limits, to retrieving products, checkout, customer service and returning to the parking lot. More retailers will be designing and communicating on the outside of stores too. Look for more pop-up kiosks for returns or exchanges, promotions displayed in the lineup area, pick-up windows or drive-thrus. Communication in these areas will be more prominent and valuable to the customer.

Indigo Large Lightbox window display

Retail Trend 3 - Transforming Retail Outlets

Look for businesses to transition under utilized stores into fulfillment centers and highlight flagship stores for maximized shopping experiences. Shoppers are now choosing to browse and research purchases online and then pick up merchandise at a distribution outlet on the same day for popular items. This could also be an opportunity for brands and merchandisers to team up and present pop-up galleries of their popular items or curated product bundles. Configurable extrusions and display showcases in fulfillment centers can introduce new products or intrigue customers who are just stopping by.

Customer Experience and Preference is Key

Whether it’s refreshing your interior layouts, adding digital, in-store convenience or customer service, continuing to evolve and grow will remain a top priority for many retailers. Retail will continue to shift to online this year, but that doesn’t mean the offline space won’t remain an important one. If implemented correctly, it can complement its online counterpart to bring a brand to life and give it an edge against competitors. Most importantly, visual engagement systems in your store have never been more important to communicate with your customers to assure them of a safe and exceptional shopping experience.  

The Look Company transforms retail environments by delivering innovative graphic systems in a wide range of applications. Our retail solutions focus around best-in-class, lightweight, reusable aluminum extrusions and award-winning fabric prints with a silicone edged graphic or SEG. Customized for retail, this system allows The LOOK Company to produce a large volume and a diverse range of solutions. Contact us for a solution for your retail business.